Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Marching into April


Doesn't it seem like March was a long month? Maybe it was because of the long wet winter we had here, ...we had snow this week...ugh! But it did seem like it took awhile for April to arrive.
I know, I know...."April showers, bring May flowers.", but hopefully that doesn't mean SNOW showers! The poor little daffs and tulips in our yard aren't sure what to do!

We are back in the swing of school now that Spring break is over, and during the week I was able to finish the "thing"...and actually, I think she turned our rather nicely, :) Her name is Caroline...once I started choosing fabrics and dressing her, I thought she looked like something from a homestead of the late 1800's. So, I borrowed Laura Ingalls Wilder's mother's name (whew!) and named her Caroline.
She is on Early Work Mercantile along with another bunny....Napoleon Bunnyparte (sorry to all the history fans out there!)

Just click on the pic to visit her on EWM

Just click on the pic to visit Monsieur Bunnyparte on EWM

On TDIPT this month I went a little "country"...well, Farmhouse/French Country, (not sure if that is an actual style??!) I used some molding gel on canvas to create the painting surface for the rooster. He was fun to paint...a little bumpy, but fun! :)



These blocks have a pear, rooster, and a fluer de lis design painted in complementary colors.



I painted some flowers......just in case April's showers have snow!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Portrait Painting

Two posts in one week!?? It must be Spring Break! Well, it has been all week actually, and it is almost over. It rained all week, so instead of gardening and yard clean-up as planned by my hubby, I stayed inside and painted. And shhhh, but I'd rather be painting, so it really wasn't such a bad thing....although the yard really could use some sprucing!





Just so you know...I asked for permission before I posted these personal school photos! :)

A few months ago I received an email from someone asking if I painted custom portraits from photos. I've done this a few times, I've painted various family members and portraits for several customers, and I did it more when I was working through a little shop where I sold my paintings. Once I painted a portrait for a wife to give to her husband as a surprise birthday present....no pressure there!
She sent me several photos of her husband as a little boy and I painted him seated in a chair holding his best friend, his boyhood dog. To my relief and pleasure, he liked it well enough to display it over their mantle. But I don't offer this on my website because I'm fairly certain there are artists out there that are more practiced and proficient at it than I am, and now that we home school I have to be organized with my time....which is a good thing! So, when a customer signs on to work with me through the portrait process their patience is essential. :-)



Here is how the process works:

The first step is the drawing or sketch that I send to the customer for their critique and input. After I receive photos of the "sitter" I sketch out the painting. When I am painting or drawing someone's loved one....it is so very helpful to get critiqued. I know that sounds scary, and it is, but it is very needed when you are hoping to translate an image of a person that the customer knows personally onto canvas. Not knowing nor having met a person and only seeing an image of them from a photo is a bit of disadvantage when you are trying to capture them on canvas so they are recognizable to themselves as well as to their family and friends. So feedback is a must.

"Dee" (her son is in the photos above) has been a dream customer...she knew what she wanted and has been so patient and helpful along the way...and so far hasn't given up on me! :)
She wanted her son (who is now a grown man) painted in a period style setting to complement her gorgeous Greek Revival home (she sent me pics of her home....imagine pages of an Early American Life issue!)



Some of the fun personal effects that will be in the painting are the title of first book he read translated into Latin, which is something a boy of that period would have studied....we are also incorporating a pet and some favorite flowers in a vase as well as a garden outside the window.




Next step- after "Dee" approved the sketch and chose the size of canvas she wanted, I enlarged the sketch to fit the canvas. "Dee" also chose the colors she wanted for all of the items...with a little room for "artistic license"! I then used the enlarged sketch and traced it onto the canvas. Sorry the photos are so dark, yep, it was a rainy day.



Now the painting begins, and more feedback before it is completed.

With "Dee's" permission, I'll keep you posted....thanks for letting me share.

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Just a quick update on "Thing 3"......I think I can safely call it a rabbit or a bunny now. It has a body and a painted face. Now I need to dress her/him! (*blush*)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Thing 3

It all started with the egg:


No, this is not a lesson on reproduction, but rather one on determination.


You know "Thing 1 and Thing 2" of Dr. Seuss fame.....well, I think I may be creating Thing 3!
I've been working on a paperclay creature for a few days now and my "intention" was to make a lop eared bunny.



Friends and family who have seen it drying in a jar have questioned it's 'creature-ness'.....
"Whatcha' makin', is it a dog?", "That looks like a sheep, is that what its gonna be?", "Oh, that's going to be a cute, hmmmm, well, what is it?"


These (and other comments best left untyped) have not done much for my motivation in completing this "Thing 3". Granted, I don't pull out the paperclay very often so its not a "practiced art" form for me. But every once in awhile I do enjoy getting my hands mushy with the stuff.
So, I was kind of still on the "bunny kick" from last month's updates and thought I'd create a lop eared bunny. My critics notwithstanding, I'm going to paint it to resemble one anyway!! (said in my best Veruca Salt voice)



He/she/ it started with an idea, ~ a creating question really,....How could I make a chest/bust without applying the paper clay directly to the muslin body?
I've made a few paperclay creations where I've applied the paperclay directly to the muslin and for 'impatient me', it takes too long for it to dry that way. China doll heads were the inspiration for my free-standing bust/chest on this bunny.
I found a paper mache egg that had the dimensions I wanted for the chest and cut it in half. I then attached my "styrofoam head and neck" with a dowel. Then I used a punch hole to make the holes in the egg form, so I can attach my body to the chest later.


Then I shaped the head with more styrofoam and got out the mushy paperclay and the fun began! Next is the primer and the paint, and of course the body.

Please stay tuned.....Here's hoping a bunny will emerge!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Bracing for the Future

Goodness!! This is terrible, terrible blog neglect....I should have put up a sign: "Computer is Taking a Vacation" before it went in for its mini-spa retreat two weeks ago.

It is feeling a little better now. It has a new attitude and seems zippier as well as refreshed.
(I could use a two week "spa" break!!)

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Not too much to report however, other than the computer's vacation without me. I'm working on a few custom orders. One order is a larger (18X24) folk art portrait of a young man for his mom. He'll be dressed in period clothing and standing in a period setting. This has been a lot of fun, and I'm happy to be able to take my time on it. It seems as if every other art project is so rushed lately....or maybe that's because I tend to wait until the last minute before update day??! :)




The big news here is that these:




........will be coming off in three weeks!!

That is a photo of my oldest son's teeth. He is super excited about getting them off. I'm really proud of him. He's had to endure the pain of tightening wires, rubber bands, and the threat of head gear from his ortho for 2 years and 4 months. Thank goodness the teeth moved on their own and the Dr. didn't have to resort to the head gear.....that may have been traumatic for both of us!

Each month he was able to choose the color of bands for his teeth....he came up with some wild ones! But this last visit he let the dental tech decide what colors he should wear. She chose pink and green for spring! Must be payback for all the teasing he's given her over the last two years! :)

And part 2 of the news is that my younger son will be getting his on the same day the older one is getting his off. That means my car better stay in running condition for the next 2 years!! These braces are a lot like buying a car; payments every month as well as tune ups!